What brings you to the Center for Basque Studies Laure?
I am a second year PhD student studying Communications in southeastern France at the Université d’Avignon et des Pays de Vaucluse. The title of my thesis is: “The audiences of popular culture: The case study of the Camargue bull race.” Three kinds of tauromachic traditions exist in France: the corrida in both southeastern and southwestern France, the Camargue “course camarguaise” bull race in southeastern France, and the Landaise race or “course landaise,” which takes place in the Basque area. My focus is on traditions that involve the use of bulls. I will be utilizing the Center for Basque Studies to research the links between French tauromachic traditions and aspects of rodeo and ranching in the Reno area. This entails doing a comparative study on the bull as a mythic icon. I plan on studying at the Center for Basque Studies from March until late June.
What have you accomplished since you arrived?
I have read texts, books, and theses from the library. The first step of my work was to understand the various ranching traditions (history and overall working). I have gotten to meet the staff of the Center for Basque Studies: Daniel Montero, Sandra Ott, Iker Saitua, and Joseba Zulaika. They have assisted me in my research by helping me find out more information about rodeos. So far, I have observed a rodeo in Fernley while getting the opportunity to interview fans. I also attended my first high school rodeo! It was very interesting and I was very impressed by the events. I also plan on visiting Elko in early June to interview bull breeders. However, the main part of my research here will take place during the famous Reno Rodeo. I will meet cowboys and attend various events. My focus is on the “social field” (according to Pierre Bourdieu) of popular culture. I have to identify all the stakeholders in the rodeo to make some comparisons with the Camargue bull race’s field: media, sponsors, sportsmen, audiences, breeders, and institutions, while trying to discern the links between all these social actors. I am also focusing on cultural practices: who are the rodeo fans? How did they come to ranching traditions? Why are they in the arena?